Figure It Out is a very good song from Royal Blood, an English rock duo formed in Worthing, West Sussex, in 2013. The band’s sound is reminiscent of and rooted in modern blues rock, hard rock, garage rock and psychedelic rock. Their first album Royal Blood was released in August 2014.
The tired old “supergroup” concept finally has more potential to be super. Time was, a band of already-famous musicians was most likely to bring together people who already lived (and drank) in the same place—as with, for example, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper’s Grammys-approved Hollywood Vampires. Today, the ability for artists to collaborate across long distances is nothing new, but something still feels novel about such an accomplished and unpredictable broadband-connected group as Minor Victories.
DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith describes “Under the Sun” as “a moment of levity amongst the heaviness” of much of his upcoming double LP, ;Is the Is Are. Most of the record’s singles have been accompanied by statements of intent from Smith: a vivid description of substance abuse, an exploration of the “struggles along the path to clarity, sanity, and sobriety,” and at least one blatant representation of the album’s “darkness.” “I really wanted people to be able to understand the words and connect with them,” Smith has said, and his willingness to acknowledge the past while looking towards the future seems like a step in the right direction.
“Under the Sun” is perhaps Smith at his most vulnerable. In a Tumblr post explaining that it’s a love song to Sky Ferreira, Smith becomes markedly moved. (“I don’t think I would have made it out if it weren’t for love,” he writes. “Not really sure what else to say.”) The tone of the track itself is quickly euphoric, beginning with its chiming opening guitar. As each instrument joins, most notably the rather (ahem) sunny guitar that carries the song, Smith declares his constant devotion: “Yes I’ll come back to you/ No I won’t ask where you run/ Under the sun.” It’s poppy, positive, and pure, all of which add up to an exciting move from DIIV.
This time of year glimmers with the promise of fresh starts and unlocking one’s full potential—ostensibly positive resolutions rooted in a culture that thrives on (women’s) self-loathing. … Read the rest
Nine albums in, ;Woods ;have changed course a few times, albeit marginally. Just compare “Sun City Creeps,” the opening track of the upcoming ;City Sun Eater in the River of Light, ;to the opener from their ;last album: ;”Shepherd,” with its Sweetheart of the Rodeo ;pedal steel, was warm and beautiful. ;”Sun City Creeps” ;veers away from country sheen, instead riding a sort of world music noir. A horn section opens things on a gentle, mournful note, and their staccato guitar and languid horns ;nod to old Ethiopian jazz records, mariachi bands, and Ennio Morricone soundtracks. For most other bands, these sort of aesthetic shifts from record to record rarely work, and worse, tend to look like desperate attempts at staying vital.
Most other bands aren’t Woods, though. And given their pace—nearly a record a year for 11 years—it can be easy to forget that they’re phenomenal musicians. But when the song calls for it, they’re expertly flashy, coming through with a frantic electric blues solo at the song’s midpoint. They’re arguably even better when hammering out the details—how they suddenly double up a melody, the way Jeremy Earl’s trembling voice adds tension, how they shift from minimalism to their all-hands-on-deck funk jam, and so on. It’s thoroughly captivating. Considering how many genres you could peg in “Sun City Creeps”—and despite how they’ve never made a song quite like it before—it’s impressive that this sounds definitively like Woods. Perhaps Earl’s vocals provide a through line, but it’s heartening to see this band consistently head in new directions without ever losing their voice.
Placebo is an English alternative rock band, formed in London in 1994 by singer-guitarist Brian Molko and guitarist-bassist Stefan Olsdal. … Read the rest